bolt action vs semi-auto .22lr?


January 26, 2006, 01:22 PM
Hi all,

I'm planning to buy my first rifle, the only weapon I've fired is from the State Police Safety Cert. Class. So i've been reading through posts here about what gun to buy for a rookie and i've decided on a .22lr probably ruger 10/22 or marlin 60, since those are the most recommended on the forums.

I was wondering if I should train on the bolt-action so as to improve my skills or go with the semi and just pop off alot. My reasoning is that I could gain more skill with the bolt-action because it's slower?

Thanks for any input.


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R.H. Lee
January 26, 2006, 01:40 PM
Recommend the bolt action for the first rifle. It will allow you to develop sighting, target acquistion and trigger control skills that will be transferable to larger calibers later on. Not that you couldn't do the same with a semi, but the greater accuracy of the bolt action might encourage you to pay more attention. Top it off with a 4x scope and practice at 50, 75 & 100 yds.

January 26, 2006, 01:46 PM
I'd also go with the bolt action, with iron sights, at least until you can hit what you are aiming at.

Shooting my buckmark rifle sure is fun, but 90% of the time if I leave the house with a .22 rifle in my hand it is a bolt action (I like the CZ452, but there are cheaper models out there that will do nicely)

January 26, 2006, 02:00 PM
Thanks for the info, after reading posts that's the idea I was getting with the bolt-action.

Another question, what is the difference between a rimfire vs. centerfire?

Thanks for the help,


January 26, 2006, 02:13 PM
Another question, what is the difference between a rimfire vs. centerfire?

The difference between the two types is in the location of the priming compound in the cartridge case.

A rimfire is so called because the priming compound is actually inside the rim of the case, which is of folded construction. Look at a .22 LR cartridge and you will immediately see what I mean. The firing pin of a rimfire rifle strikes the rim of the cartridge when you pull the trigger.

A centerfire cartridge has a separate primer in the center of the base of the cartridge case. The rim of a centerfire case is solid. Look at a .30-30 cartridge and you will immediately see the difference. The firing pin of a centerfire gun strikes the primer located in the center of the base of the cartridge, rather than the rim. Such cases are much stronger than the rimfire type, and can contain much higher pressures, which makes possible modern high velocity rifles and pistols.

January 26, 2006, 02:35 PM
Though I definitely understand the arguments for using a bolt-action for training newbies, I don't feel that a semi-auto constitutes will necessarily force you to waste ammo.

It requires a little more discipline to keep focusing on the essentials, but a semi also allows you to more easily maintain your shooting position, since you don't need to move your paws around to work the action.

I just picked up a Marlin 60. I love that model, and can't wait to get out and shoot it.

I definitely agree that iron sights should come first. Scopes are fun, but I prefer irons in the long run.

The other upside of semi: when you've had enough practice on essentials for the day, it is fun to jump all 14 rounds of .22LR as quick as you can pull the trigger. You can fire a semi slowly and carefully, but you really can't cut loose with a bolt-gun.

Another vote for the Marlin 60 and iron sights.


January 26, 2006, 03:09 PM
Hi All,

Thanks for the info, i'm going to the gun shop this weekend and hopefully I can pick up something.

I appreciate all the comments, thanks


Hot brass
January 26, 2006, 03:40 PM
Bolt, CZ452 , ask me why.

January 26, 2006, 03:45 PM
Bolt. That's what I should have gotten as a first cartridge rifle.

Easy and quick to clean, accurate for targets and small game, good trigger without expensive aftermarket mods (esp. CZ452 or 453) frustrating misfeeds are a non-issue, and you can start competitive shooting with it.

January 26, 2006, 03:45 PM
Get as many action types as you can afford and get familiarized with the manual of arms on each. My Remington bolt .22 is my most accurate. Autos can be pretty accurate, but out of the box a good bolt gun is normally more so.

January 26, 2006, 05:36 PM
As cheap as 22's are, get both and take both to the range. When you get done with the marksmanship and the bolt gun, break out the auto and go to town. You might waste 5 dollars on ammo. :)

January 26, 2006, 05:52 PM
For a adult with a reasonable amount of self control, a semi auto is fine. The Marlin 60 is a excellent choice.

For a kid, I'd say a single shot is better. Most kids seem to have "videogame trigger", and with a semi auto, they tend to pop off a whole magazine in 2 seconds. A single shot encourages better aim.

Iron sites, IMO, are a must. Scopes and red dots come later after learning how to shoot well.

January 26, 2006, 07:40 PM
I know it is not on your list, but what about a lever action, or more to the point, a Marlin 39? IMO you get the best of both worlds; speed and accuracy.

I have a bunch of .22 rifles. If I ever had to sell all but one, <gasp!> the Marlin 39 would be the "last man standing" as it were. I find myself reaching for the 39 more than any of my other .22s.

If you must have a semi or a bolt, I say go for a bolt action ala the CZ452 as suggested by the others. They are fine rifles.

Best of luck to you!

January 26, 2006, 10:29 PM
I have a bunch of em, most of the usual suspects. I must say tho that my cz452 is my favorite cuz it's so danged accurate.

rust collector
January 26, 2006, 10:59 PM
I learned on a single shot bolt action 22 rifle, and I think it made me a better shooter. There was only one chance with that rifle, so position, sight picture, breath control, sling use and calling the shot were mighty important. It wasn't long before I got my first semi-auto, but the time spent on the basics really paid off.

Additionally, I think an old-school bolt action such as the cz 452 is a lot easier on the eye, feels more solid, has a much better trigger than a stock semi-auto, and has much better sights on it.

Of course I'm a throwback to a bygone era, but the 10-22 with the upgrades, a very accurate and pleasant gun in its own right, often stays in the safe while the Czech gets to walk and talk in the countryside. And then there are the 30's vintage sportmodells (military type bolt actions, one a Walther and one an Anschutz) for when I'm feeling historical. All great fun, but the bolt will help you to realize your full accuracy potential.

January 26, 2006, 11:44 PM
I bought both bolt -- CZ 452 --- and semi-auto --- Ruger 10/22. For different reasons.

The consensus among target competitors, and from a couple benchmark reviews I've read, is that the CZ 452 is the most accurate 22 rifle out of the box for this price range (Thousand dollar Anschutz 22lr will do the trick, too, but for a much higher price.) I bought one for that reason, as I intend to do some competition shooting.

The factory Ruger 10/22 is okay, too, but what I like about it is that because it's perhaps the most popular, it has a huge array of aftermarket add-ons available. You never have a shortage of vendors for parts, accessories and various other gizmos for it. I'm accurizing mine right now and have added some cool features --- Revival Tundra wood laminated stock and a very nice Green Mountain fluted stainless steel barrel. These latter two things will make my 10/22 even more accurate and it really has a cool look.

When I'm through modding this 10/22, I'm going to get another one and make me a black tactical 10/22, with folding stock, pistol grip, etc. That's all part of the fun.

January 30, 2006, 10:56 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.

I went with a used marlin 880 sq bolt action synthetic stock with a simmons scope for $225.00. Does this sound like a fair price?

thanks again,


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